If you were to randomly ask a few people about what is the most important tool for communication, there would be a variety of answers. From body gestures to tone of voice, communication is made up of several important factors. However, one of the most important tools that we use to communicate with each other is the language we speak. Without a language, we are reduced to only understanding face and body gestures. Even writing would be difficult, we would be reduced to drawing symbols.
Most people grow up speaking only one language and for their own reasons, they don’t try to learn a new one. Many years ago, this was the norm. Today, it is different. With globalization and the presence of multiculturalism, the need for employees that have the knowledge of more than one language is increasing. This is one of the reasons why many majors have a foreign language requirement, to prepare students for the demands of the professional world. Here is a list that includes the five benefits of learning a new language.
It looks good on your résumé
Listing a foreign language on your résumé always looks good. It shows you have an additional method of communicating with others and that you have the capacity to apply yourself and focus on a new language. Many large companies conduct business in other countries and having an employee that can communicate in the language they desire is an asset. Tailoring your skills to make a company see how valuable you could be (while being truthful, of course!) is never a bad idea.
It could make your study abroad experience even better!
If you want to study abroad, why not try to learn the language of the country you will be traveling to? You don’t need a native level of fluency in the language you are interested in, but if you have a basic understanding of words and phrases that are used in that language, your study abroad experience could be made even more fun. You would have the opportunity to practice your fluency with people local to the country and having some prior knowledge of the language of a country you are going to visit never hurts.
You’ll feel proud of what you have achieved
Learning a new language is no easy task. It involves long hours, dedication and perseverance. Whether you are learning Spanish, French, Italian, or even Japanese, you are putting in the effort to learn about not just a language; you are learning about a culture. As you begin the study of a new language, it’s common to become frustrated when you don’t understand conversations, don’t let that stop you. Anyone who has started studying a language can tell you that it happens, but it won’t last forever. Studying combined with time will help you slowly begin to understand and put all the pieces in the puzzle.
Your brain will thank you!
The National Center for Biotechnology Information has stated being bilingual or multilingual has many cognitive benefits. Among those are better attention and task switching capacities and a stronger ability to process information. When progressing into older adulthood, bilingual and multilingual people have a lower rate of memory loss than monolingual people of their age. A study conducted that observed more than 200 bilingual and monolingual patients that had Alzheimer’s disease found that bilingual patients showed initial symptoms of the disease 4.3 years later than the monolingual patients.
What do you have to lose?
Is there any way that learning a new language could impair you? Setting aside just a couple of hours a week could transform your life for the better. We would be surprised if we looked at how much time we waste on entertaining ourselves with social media when we could be putting that time to better use. Of course, the previous statement is not to make you stop using social media or to argue against it. It is just a reminder for that hour watching funny videos on YouTube or the 30 minutes we spent scrolling through Instagram we could put that time to a better use and give another language a try.
Hopefully this article has given you some insight into what the benefits of learning a new language are and it has given you the motivation to truly immerse yourself in a different culture. UNC Charlotte offers us the opportunity to study a variety of languages, so why not take advantage of it and give ourselves the chance to give another language a try? Perhaps you’ll be surprised to realize you have found a new passion.